The Los Angeles City Council is still in limbo-in considering a full citywide ban on dispensaries, due to a court decision that limits its ability to regulate them, according to a news report.
If passed, the ban would forbid dispensaries to sell marijuana, but will allow patients who are ill and their caregivers to cultivate it.
Sam Humeid, executive director and business owner of Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, feels relieved that his workers will have job security now.
“There is a negative social stigma and lifestyle the world associates marijuana with hippies or mafia members,” Humeid said. “But in reality, we are workers that have families who work for an honest living to help our patients.”
“We have ill patients who are prescribed by a medically licensed doctor that need our services,” Humeid said. “Some of these ailments include lupus, cancer, nausea and sleep deprivation.”
Humeid and his employees now join grocery workers, health care providers and pharmacists who are part of the local UFCW 770 in Los Angeles. The dispensaries will be part of the newly formed Cannabis and Hemp Worker’s Unit.
The joining of the union will not affect Perennial’s product prices. There will only be a marginal shift in pricing, according to Humeid.
My employees and I are grateful to be apart of the union,” Humeid said. “ Now, my workers will have benefits, and our jobs will be secure. We want to be recognized for what the dispensary really represents, and that is a legal health care facility.”
The California Supreme Court plans to review rulings by lower courts on how much oversight local governments can have over medical marijuana operations.
The UFCW already has contracts with workers at a handful of other dispensaries in Oakland, Calif., Colorado and in other areas where medical marijuana is legal.
There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.
However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:
1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.
2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.
3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.
4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”
5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”
The problem? Dispensaries are on hold in the state. Those who can't grow, or don't want to grow medical marijuana have no way of getting their medication. Rhode Island's U.S. Attorney Peter Heronha has a big problem with dispensaries and compassion centers. “I have some real concerns, in a state where I believe there is an appetite for drugs, illegal drugs, that the use of marijuana here could really explode,” Neronha says.
Last year, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who supported medical marijuana, stopped the compassion centers from opening out of concern over what steps Neronha might take.
A compromise between Rhode Island lawmakers is in the works. A bi-partisain compromise can't come soon enough for Rhode Island's medical marijuana patients
Even the regions itinerant bud trimmers are feeling the pain of the pot market crash. Workers once earned up to $200 per pound for meticulously trimming medical marijuana buds. Now, the rate has dropped to $100 or more often than not, a few nuggets of weed.
I got paid in weed," Mover, who refused to give his real name, said of his last trimming job. "It's worthless here. You can't give it away. And I'm not going to transport anything. I'm too old, and I don't want to go to jail."
The intense saturation of medical marijauna growers has caused the prices to tumble since 2010. prior to 2010, a pound of top notch medical marijuana sold for nearly $5000. These prices slipped down to $3000 a pound in 2010 and has been in a free fall ever since.
Last I heard, a pound of marijuana is $800 for outdoor grown," said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman in Ukiah. "That's plummeting. You might do better with tomatoes."
This makes Connecticut the 17th state along with the District of Columbia to authorize the use of medical marijuana. The new medical marijuana bill includes strict regulations for cultivation and distribution. Lawmakers hope these restrictions will avoid many of the problems other states have run into.
Since California became the first state with medical marijuana in 1996, states have struggled with clashes with teh federal government, which still considers the drug illegal and of no medical value. Everything from California back is trying to get away from chaos," said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.
Under Connecticut's legislation, marijuana would be sold in multiple forms at dispensaries, which are required to have a licensed pharmacist on staff. It also outlines diseases that would be treated by the drug and establishes a registry for patients and caregivers. Finally a person must possess a growers permit to cultivate medical marijuana.
Because medical marijuana was approved by voter referendum, and these measures will amend the constitution, it will take a 3/4ths majority in the legislature to approve them.